Judiciary

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Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, is stepping aside from his daily duties at the organization to launch a consulting firm that will fund conservative causes.

The new firm, called CRC Advisors, is being billed as a “full-service conservative public affairs powerhouse.” Leo will be chairman of CRC Advisors, which springs from an existing conservative public relations firm called CRC Strategies.

Axios, Law360 and Bloomberg Law have coverage.

Leo will continue as board co-chairman of the conservative Federalist Society, whose members have been well-represented among President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. Leo himself is said to have played a role in developing Trump’s Supreme Court short list.

One of CRC Advisors’ initial projects will be to fund a $10 million issue advocacy campaign that would boost Trump’s judicial picks.

Leo has already been working with outside nonprofits to raise money to promote conservative judges and causes, according to a Washington Post article published in May 2019. Leo said then that his advocacy for judicial candidates was separate from his role at the Federalist Society, which says it is nonpartisan.

Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Bloomberg Law that Leo’s new position could be related to the Federalist Society’s position that it doesn’t get involved in politics. “It would go against that mandate for the Federalist society itself to basically start running campaign ads,” he said.